2020 has been a rollercoaster ride for markets, with plenty of crashes, rallies, insolvencies, and stimulus packages. Here are the 15 top market moments so far.

  • At the start of 2020, the killing of Qassam Soleimani, and the Iranian-US tensions that followed, was the biggest story in town for markets.
  • But COVID-19 soon began to spread across the world, causing markets to tank. It’s been a rollercoaster ride ever since.
  • From oil prices turning negative in April to famed investor Warren Buffett selling his airline stocks in May, here are the top 15 market events of 2020 so far.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In early 2020, the big story for markets was the new low in US-Iran relations following the killing of Iranian general Qassam Soleimani. In the aftermath, the US slapped fresh sanctions on the Gulf nation, the Iranian armed forces shot down a Ukranian airline plane in error and investors worried about what might happen next.

Little did they know what the following few months had in store.

Coronavirus sparked a chain reaction in global financial markets, and has become the dominant market force ever since. Stock markets hit a low on 23 March as major economies entered lockdown, and later rebounded thanks to major stimulus packages. Investors remain hyper-sensitive to any COVID-19 news, both positive and negative, including the progress on vaccines and an easing of lockdowns.

COVID-19 has, without question, been the biggest markets story of 2020.

But it’s not been the only one.

Markets have also watched former Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam step down following a spying scandal and German payment processor Wirecard collapse after the discovery of a $US2 billion hole in its balance sheet – and let’s not forget oil prices turning negative, a historic moment that stunned traders on both sides of the Atlantic.

Business Insider has rounded the top 15 market moments of the year so far. Here they are:


The US ordered the killing of Iranian major general Qassem Soleimani on January 3, and US-Iranian relations hit a new low. The US imposed fresh economic sanctions.

Amarjeet Kumar Singh/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam resigned on February 7 after an executive-level spying scandal engulfed the bank.

Reuters

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Saudi Arabia kicked off an oil price war with Russia on March 8 in order to penalise Moscow for not agreeing to reduce oil prices during the early stages of the coronavirus slump.

Reuters

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Markets tanked on 23 March as investors finally woke up to the economic impact coronavirus could have. The S&P 500 touched a low of 2237.40.

REUTERS

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Trump signed the $US2 trillion coronavirus economic relief bill into law on March 27, which included checks for Americans and business loans.

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Image

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US oil prices turned negative for the first time in history on 20 April.

Reuters

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Famed investor Warren Buffett revealed on May 3 during Berkshire Hathaway’s annual general meeting that he has sold his stocks in the big four US airlines, causing jitters in markets.

James Leynse/Corbis/Getty Images

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Car rental company Hertz filed for company protection on May 22. It had nearly $US19 billion of outstanding debt.

Reuters

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Dave Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports, became the poster child of day-trading in May. Even young children turned to the stock market to make some quick money.

Getty Images / Cliff Hawkins

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Drug-maker Gilead Sciences’ stocks rocketed in May after it announced progress in trials for its antiviral drug Remdesivir.

Ulrich Perrey/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

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China imposed a draconian national security law on Hong Kong on May 28. It threatened Hong Kong’s future status as a financial hub and the city’s close relationship with the US.

Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

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On June 4, the European Central Bank announced $US676 billion of new stimulus in June to fight the coronavirus, bringing its total coronavirus package to $US1.52 trillion.

Reuters

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Wirecard’s chief executive Markus Braun resigned on June 19 after a $US2 billion hole was discovered in its balance sheet. The company said “the money likely never existed.” He was arrested days later.

picture alliance/Getty Images

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The Federal Reserve suspends share buybacks and limits dividends for big banks after stress test results on June 25.

Reuters

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The Federal Reserve spent $US428 million buying debt in individual companies in the first wave of its corporate bond-buying programme, the central bank announced on June 29.

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

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